Friday night, Melbourne Storm will finally run out at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland to face the Warriors for the first time in three years.
Round 13 of the 2019 NRL season, Storm had four players backing up from Origin III only three days prior.
A little depleted, the Melbourne side were slow to start, recording three penalties and errors before a penalty shot from skipper Cameron Smith opened the scoreline.
Shortly after, Warriors winger Ken Maumalo and five-eighth Kodi Nikorima scored consecutive tries in front of their home crowd, bringing the score to 10-2.
Storm’s game was not getting any easier as midway through the first 40 halfback Brodie Croft suffered a game-ending knock to the head, requiring 20-year-old rookie Ryan Papenhuyzen to come off the interchange bench to fill in.
In the final four minutes of the first half, then fullback Jahrome Hughes ran through the Warriors defence with a powerful linebreak to secure his team’s first try.
Momentum was running Storm’s way early in the second half of the mid-season match up, with Hughes landing another try from a linebreak in the opening minute and a half of play.
The unstoppable Suliasi Vunivalu locked away a third try for Storm, quickly converted by Smith to make it 20-10 in favour of the visitors.
After Christian Welch was sin-binned, a gentle kick from Smith in the final 10 metres allowed Jesse Bromwich to secure and plant the Steeden over the try line.
A conversion and penalty goal from Smith brought to score to an even larger 18-point margin.
In the final two minutes of play and in his debut season in the purple jersey, centre Marion Seve went on to grab Storm’s fifth and final try of the night, rounding out a strong performance by the soon-to-be minor premiers.
Melbourne Storm 28
Tries: Hughes 2, Vunivalu, Bromwich, Seve
Goals: Smith 4
Penalty goals: Smith 2
Tries: Maumalo, Nikorima
Tomorrow night, following an emotional return home on July 3 where the Kiwi side secured a passionate win over the Wests Tigers, the Round 20 clash is sure to be a special game to witness.
Watch live from 6pm (AUS time), on Fox League or Kayo.